State gets 48 applications to grow, process, sell marijuana in Whatcom County

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDNovember 26, 2013 

A marijuana plant is ready for harvesting at a Seattle grow operation. AP PHOTO

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

The state Liquor Control Board has so far received 23 applications from businesses that want to grow marijuana in Whatcom County.

The number of pot processor applications totaled 21 for the county, while four applicants have asked the state to allow them to sell cannabis.

In Skagit County, 16 applicants filed to grow, 13 to process, and one to sell.

The State Liquor Control Board on Tuesday, Nov. 26, released the names and addresses of more than 400 applicants throughout the state - including such names in Whatcom County as The Joint, Bearded Bro's Buds and Canndo - providing a first look at those who want to enter the industry since Washington state voters legalized marijuana for recreational use last year.

Businesses can hold licenses to both grow and process marijuana, but not to sell. Retailers can't be involved in the other two segments.

Liquor Control Board spokesman Brian Smith said Tuesday that licensing investigators are now processing the applications.

"Our investigators will be working with the applicants," he said.

Those investigators were checking residency status of the applicants, running criminal background checks and verifying financial information.

They also are checking the locations of the proposed businesses, ensuring that they are not located within 1,000 feet of schools or other specified gathering places.

In Whatcom County, all of the retailer applications were for stores in Bellingham, while grower and processor sites were in Acme, Bellingham, Everson, Ferndale, Lynden, Maple Falls and Sumas.

In Skagit County, one application was filed for a store in Anacortes, while grower and processor applications were for operations in Anacortes, Bow, Burlington, Concrete, Mount Vernon and Sedro-Woolley.

A new list will be posted next Tuesday, Smith said, with further lists published on subsequent Tuesdays showing which applicants remain in the mix.

He said he expected to publish a final list sometime early next year.

"We estimate that we will be issuing licenses in February or March," Smith said, adding that would put the opening of retail stores in "late May or June."

Producers and processors have been given priority for licensing, he said. This would help facilitate a crop that would be ready for retail sales in late spring.

Among the 23 applicants who want to grow marijuana in Whatcom County, five propose to do so in a grow space smaller than 2,000 square feet (known as tier 1); 13 in an area 2,000 to 10,000 square feet (tier 2); and five in a grow space of 10,000 to 30,000 square feet (tier 3).

Among the 16 applicants who want to grow cannabis in Skagit County, five are in the first tier, eight in the second and three in the third.

The spreadsheet as published Tuesday contains several repeated applicant listings. Smith explained that "it's raw data that hasn't been vetted."

Following investigations, subsequent lists should prove more refined, he said.

In September, the Liquor Control Board ruled that 15 stores in Whatcom County would be allowed to sell marijuana for recreational use beginning next year, while Skagit County would be allowed 10 stores.

That allowed for six stores in Bellingham and one each in Lynden and Ferndale, with up to seven others throughout Whatcom County

In Skagit, that allocation allowed for four stores sprinkled around the county, three in Mount Vernon, and one each in Anacortes, Burlington and Sedro-Woolley.

Retail stores were allocated by 2010 population data.

MAP OF COUNTY LOCATIONS

To see a map showing the application locations for growing, processing or selling marijuana in Whatcom County, go to this story online.

SEE ALL APPLICATIONS

To see a list of marijuana applications for all counties in Washington state, see this story.

The News Tribune in Tacoma contributed to this story. Reach Kie Relyea at 360-715-2234 or kie.relyea@bellinghamherald.com.

Bellingham Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service